Arcane Stripe Terminal vs Square: Comparing Mobile POS, Virtual Terminals + More

by Michael Roche - November 9, 2020

When it comes to comparing our Stripe terminal vs Square, we get it – we’re a little biased. But with some helpful tools and transparent cost analysis at the ready, we just couldn’t resist throwing our voice into the mix…

After all, comparing mobile POS systems can seem daunting — it’s hard enough just sorting through all the different product features! You’ve also got to consider which plan is right for you under a number of different cost scenarios.

In this article we make it easy for you to get a sense of our Stripe terminal vs Square as far as POS solutions go. To set the stage a little, let’s get a handle on the differences in technology…

The Mobile Card Readers

When it comes to our mobile POS, our Stripe terminal uses different technology and hardware than Square. The mobile card reader we offer with Stripe – the BBPOS Chipper 2X BT terminal – is based in Bluetooth and accommodates all manner of POS payment methods: hover/tap, insert and swipe. It’s free-standing, and resembles a homing device.

Square’s offering – Square Reader – is a bit different. Like our Stripe solution, it accommodates all above-mentioned payments methods, but it’s not entirely free-standing; it requires a dongle-piece connector for magstripe swipe transactions.

POS Terminal Hardware

Unlike Square’s integrated touchscreen POS, we create a virtual terminal by connecting the VerifoneP400 or BBPOS Chipper to a compatible device (a computer or tablet for the VerifoneP400 or a mobile phone in the case of the BBPOS Chipper).

What About Cost?

Our Virtual TerminalGenerally speaking, our Virtual Terminal mobile POS is more cost-effective than Square at higher revenues (if this isn’t you, scroll down to read about how our WooCommerce plugin compares to Square as a more cost-effective solution at lower revenues).

Our Square vs Virtual Stripe Terminal cost calculator comes in handy here. This calculator is comprehensive and encompasses hardware and subscription costs as well as percentage and flat rate fees for invoices, terminal transactions, and subscription payments.

In a given year where you move 10,000 units at an average of $220/transaction, your net yearly spending with Square’s terminal is $77,330. With our Stripe Virtual Terminal, it’s $75,912.50.

In the case above, your savings from using our Virtual Terminal instead of Square will be $1,417.50. See the chart below for a fuller breakdown of the costs:

square vs virtual stripe terminal cost calculator

If your numbers look different than the ones used above, you can test out different scenarios to weigh our Virtual Terminal against Square.

Our Stripe Terminal for WooCommerceWhile our Virtual Terminal tends to be more affordable than Square at higher revenues, our WooCommerce plugin solutions are often the better deal if you’re operating at a lower revenue (see the chart below).

Since our Stripe WooCommerce plugin is offered in a number of different packages, we’ve designed our web app calculator to do side-by-side comparisons of all the different scenarios. You can see how things play out in a situation where your average sale is $15 over a year where you move 4000 units:

our stripe terminal vs square woocommerce

To compare for yourself, view our plugin’s Stripe vs Square fees calculator.

Our Virtual Terminal By the Numbers

Hopefully the cost calculators above have helped you get a sense of how our products stack up to Square when it comes to meeting your business objectives. If you’re the type who likes it all laid out in front of you, you can refer to the numbers breakdown for our our Stripe terminal vs Square below:

Square: $0/mo (3.5% + 0.15/transaction)
Our Stripe Terminal: $25/mo (3.2% + 0.30/transaction)
w/Reader (Arcane Virtual Terminal offers a reader intergration, Square does not): 3.2% + 0.15/transaction

Standard Invoices
Square: 2.9% + 0.30
Our Stripe Terminal: 2.9% + 0.30

Recurring Customers: Card on File or Subscriptions
Square: 3.5% + 0.15
*Our Stripe Terminal: 2.9% + 0.30
*Subscriptions completed via Virtual Terminal are 3.87% + 0.30

Square FREE Terminal: $0/mo + (2.6% +0.10/transaction) + $799 Terminal
Our Stripe FREE P400 Terminal:  $0/mo + (2.7% +0.05/transaction) + $299 Terminal

Square PRO Terminal: $60/mo + (2.5% +0.10/transaction) + $799 Terminal
Our Stripe PRO P400 Terminal: $10/mo + (2.7% +0.05/transaction)  + $299 Terminal

Square FREE Reader: $0/mo + (2.6% +0.10/transaction) + $169 Terminal
Our Stripe FREE BBPOS Terminal: $0/mo + (3.1% +0.25/transaction) + $50 Reader

Square PRO Reader: $60/mo + (2.5% +0.10/transaction) + $169 Terminal
Our Stripe PRO BBPOS Terminal: $10/mo + (2.8% +0.15/transaction) + $50 Reader

The Arcane Difference – Inventory Management

Whether it’s our Stripe Terminal you need or just our Stripe WooCommerce Plugin, both of our mobile POS solutions will sync directly with your ecommerce website (in some instances, they’ll also sync up with your ERP software).

Merchants who use Square, on the other hand, must have all their orders processed both from and to Square. In addition to the headache this can save you of not having data transmission to your external data sources, it can also save you money, as we’ve shown above.

Interested in one of our POS solutions? Explore our Virtual Terminal, or if you’re a WooCommerce merchant, consider our Stripe WooCommerce Plugin. You can also learn more about services from Arcane Strategies. Arcane is a developer and provider of point of sale products, before deciding on Arcane POS as your solution, we advise speaking with a consultant to determine what solutions best fit your business’s needs and to learn more about payment technologies and what’s next.